Casino Ship Turns Into Prison Ship for Crew
A casino ship detained in Hong Kong has been called a “prison” by one of 46 crew members stuck on board without pay, reports the South China Morning Post.
The crew of the New Imperial Star had planned to apply for legal aid and take the shipowner to court in Hong Kong over unpaid wages. Arising International Holdings Limited has been accused of failing to pay the crew’s wages, ranging from $1,300 to over $6,500 per month, for at least five months.
Some have been on board for over a year. A crew member who wished to remain anonymous told the Post “the ship is really a prison.” He said many crew members, 20 from the Ukraine, 18 from Myanmar and eight from China, want to go home, but the shipowner has failed to pay their wages or airfare.
Those on board have complained about poor air quality, substandard food and inadequate medical care.
The ship has been detained in local waters, one mile off Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, since November 5 after failing a Port State Control inspection as a result of an inadequate safety management system.
The vessel started operating out of Hong Kong in September last year. It was built in 1979 and is registered in Palau.
The International Transport Workers Federation and The Mission to Seafarers have been assisting the crew, and an owner representative has reportedly promised to pay the wages after the ship is allowed to set sail again.